Having used other Video Editors it seems like the options Blender offers for selecting what container format and what codec format you want to use for your video is confusing.

Example Screenshot

The above screenshot shows there are 3 Buttons to choose your container and codec, which are two things, which begs the question, what is the difference between 1 and 2? Is 2 the encoder to use? Then why is Blender saying "file format" for the hint boxes of each?

This causes some confusion in practice as well. As an example, Youtube needs a video using the H264 codec and MP4 container for best quality results after it will convert it.

If you choose "H.264" for 1, ...

  • ... "MPEG-4" for 2 and "H.264" for 3 you get a file with the .mp4 extension.

  • ... "H.264" for 2, then the codec selection box 3 is completely hidden and the extension is then .avi. How does that make sense? And why is 3 hidden?

  • ... "Quicktime" for 2 and "H.264" for 3 you get a file with the .mov extension.


1 Answer 1


Number 1 is a selector to guide you in your next step for movie encoding selection. It can make the encoding section disappear or take other options. It's more a selector for whether you want an encoded movie or a selection of images, and blender gives you the right section. It's ignored for your output movie file.

Number 2 is your container, and 3 is your codec.

That said, let's examine your output:

1) Correct. "MPEG-4" and "H.264" must give MP4, being MPEG-4 the container. I think its your best option for your YouTube uploads.

2) Correct. If you choose MPEG or H264 for number 1, you will continue getting the same (AVI). Like I said , number 1 has no impact on your results. Here you will always get an AVI if you choose a container like H264. This is more a Blender behavior. (I expected an MP4, too.) Blender uses H264 like a container and doesn't let you choose a codec, exchanging it for a lossless option. I remember having read that Blender is very oriented towards H264 as a final output file, so I think that explains the special behavior for this option.

3) Correct. Like 1), you will get a .mov container and codec of your choosing.

  • $\begingroup$ It sounds contradicting when you say 2 is the container and 3 is the codec but agree that in the second situation (choosing H264 for 1 and 2) 3 gets hidden. Furthermore its not clear why 1 even exists if that's the case. $\endgroup$
    – Leo Ervin
    Feb 29, 2016 at 22:41
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Don't take 1 in consideration. Choose MPEG in 1 and you will get the same at coding options. Your second situation work the same or the rest taking 1 from H264 to Xvid selections, because all are videos using codecs. For example, choosing Ogg can give you MP4... I agree sounds strange, but like many things at Blender, you must learn the idea behind and surely the same idea not apply to another aspects of the application. $\endgroup$
    – gabrign
    Mar 2, 2016 at 4:36
  • $\begingroup$ the thing is there's no idea behind it at this point so you're just suggesting to ignore that part... $\endgroup$
    – Leo Ervin
    Mar 3, 2016 at 0:00
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I tried it by myself. You can choose anything from H.264, MPEG, Ogg or Xvid in "1" and selecting the same at "2" and "3" gives the same output. "1" only change options. Here, at " wiki.blender.org/index.php/User:Rking/Doc:2.6/Manual/Render/… " take a look to Advanced Encoding. It not says "it's ignored" but works like a profile selection, not like something to final mix. $\endgroup$
    – gabrign
    Mar 3, 2016 at 18:36
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe it's a language barrier but that doesn't make sense. $\endgroup$
    – Leo Ervin
    Mar 11, 2016 at 13:02

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